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Competition is key

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PAT Clarke reckons that competition for places up front is bringing the best out of Raith Rovers’ three strikers.

After a recent spell on the bench, Clarke was given the nod to partner top scorer Brian Graham in attack against Airdrie on Saturday, with Greig Spence taking a turn on the bench.

Clarke repaid manager Grant Murray’s faith with a goal and an assist in the 2-0 win, and pointed to the fight for a starting place as his motivation.

He said: “Because we’ve all got goals in us, we’re all trying to outdo each other.

“We’re all pals off the park, but there’s definitely competition there.

“Whether it’s two strikers playing or just one, we’re always trying our hardest to get selected, and it’s a tough decision for the manager.

“In recent weeks I’ve been the one that’s had to sit out and watch, but Brian and Greig have been in goalscoring form so you accept that and get on with it.

“I got a chance on Saturday and thankfully we got the win.”

Saturday’s win was also Rovers’ first clean sheet at home since they last played Airdrie at Stark’s Park on September 15.

“We’re well capable of scoring goals with the strikers we’ve got so keeping a clean sheet is huge,” said player-boss Murray.

“First and foremost, it’s good to get back to winning ways.

“We’ve had a lot of draws in games lately, and losing a big derby on Wednesday was hard to take.

“But the lads picked themselves up and, credit to them, we got a comfortable win.”

Raith took a 35th minute lead as Graham latched onto Clarke’s pass to fire home his 19th goal of the season.

Clarke then took his tally to seven as Graham returned the favour, laying the ball off for his team mate to make it 2-0 in the 62nd minute.

Rovers held on comfortably to record their first win in six league games.

 

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